Carel van der Poel has served at FOM, Philips, Dupont, NXP, FEI and TU Delft.


Why don’t the Dutch industry and government fund more basic research?

Leestijd: 5 minuten

A mismatch between public and industrial research interests, a lack of mutual appreciation and a government unwilling to get involved are seriously harming the Dutch manufacturing industry.

On its website, NWO enthusiastically quotes a recent Raboresearch report as proof of the relevance of financing basic research to beneficially feed the growth engine for the Dutch economy. Indeed, already at a 2013 FOM meeting, I learned from Leiden University professor Van Bokhoven that a 1-euro investment in basic research would subsequently grow the economy on average by a whopping 10 euro. At an average tax rate of 40 percent, it’s hard to understand why the authorities don’t immediately spend that euro, as it pays back at least four times the initial investment.

Appropriate deployment of the well-recognized world-class scientific quality and significant size of the Dutch public research community (universities, polytechnics, research institutes) would, without doubt, lead to substantial further enhancement of the Dutch innovation potential. But instead, already for years, the demolition continues. This demonstrates that politicians and industry are holding back when it comes to supporting basic research with anything more than words. I offer several reasons why this is the case.

This article is exclusively available to premium members of Bits&Chips. Already a premium member? Please log in. Not yet a premium member? Become one and enjoy all the benefits.


Related content